Last Updated on June 28, 2023 by AIFS Abroad
Alicia returned home from a fall semester in Prague, Czech Republic with a new mindset and having grown more than she could’ve ever anticipated. As an AIFS Student Vlogger, she captured a reflection of her experience through film. Check it out:
“I hear a lot of people who come back from studying abroad say that they feel like a different person. As my semester came to an end, I realized that I didn’t feel like a different person. Instead, I feel more confident in the person I already was.
When you’re thrown into unknown territory, you have to search for your best qualities and reevaluate your worst ones. My time abroad consistently challenged me to be more outgoing, open-minded, adaptive, and ambitious. Even when I messed up — like majorly messed up; like getting your phone, license, and debit card stolen in Barcelona messed up — I learned from it. Living abroad for a week without a phone ended up being incredibly freeing and reminded me to live with my eyes open.
Being able to navigate Europe, especially without my phone, brought me closer to my friends and so the new confidence in me. Exploring the Czech Republic, speaking its language, and learning about its history and culture made me feel really small and really big at the same time. I felt insignificant compared to the enormous world around me but, simultaneously, felt a larger-than-life connection to it. It made me question my ideas of self but in a way that was liberating. My thoughts about who exactly I should be started melting away and I focused more on my experience than my identity.
That experience was made whole by the amazing new relationships I made with the AIFS staff, my professors, and of course all the new friends I made in the program — who I desperately missed the second my plane landed at home.
So, my advice is to go into your study abroad program not with the goal of completely transforming your identity, but instead, with the goal of bringing out your best self and becoming more comfortable and happy with who you are, even if you’re uncertain who exactly that is.”
Click here to learn more about how you can spend a semester, summer, academic year, or January term studying abroad in Prague.